You can file a claim in a probate case if you were owed money by the decedent.
If the personal representative knows you are or may be a creditor of the estate, you may have a received something called a Notice to Creditors, which explains how you file a claim. Notices to creditors are also published in newspapers to provide notice to creditors who are not known by the personal representative.
If you receive a Notice to Creditors in the mail or by personal service, you must file your claim within 30 days of receiving the notice, or within 4 months after first publication of the notice in a newspaper, whichever is later.
If the personal representative would not have identified you as a possible creditor after reviewing the decedent’s papers, and if a Notice to Creditors was published in a newspaper, you must file a claim within 4 months of first publication in the newspaper.
If the personal representative could have identified you by reviewing the decedent’s papers and did not send you a notice, or if the personal representative did not publish a notice to creditors in a newspaper or give you notice, you have 24 months from the decedent’s death to file a claim. Failure to file your claim within these time limits bars your claim.
A claim must include: your name and address; the name, address (if different from that of the claimant), and nature of authority of an agent signing the claim for the claimant; a statement of the facts or circumstances constituting the basis of the claim; the amount of the claim; and if the claim is secured, unliquidated, contingent, or not yet due, the nature of the security, the nature of the uncertainty, or the date when it will become due.
The claim must be filed with the court, a copy provided to the personal representative or the personal representative’s attorney.
Douglas N. Kiger, Attorney at Law
Blado Kiger Bolan, Tacoma, Wash.